Submitted to: Textile Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2012
Publication Date: 1/1/2013
Citation: Sawhney, A.P., Reynolds, M.L., Allen Jr, H.C., Slopek, R.P., Condon, B.D. 2013. Effects of greige cotton lint properties on hydroentangled nonwoven fabrics. Textile Research Journal. 83(1):3-12. Interpretive Summary: To increase value-added use of cotton in nonwoven products, it was imperative to study the effects of fiber properties on the nonwoven processes and products. Although a considerable volume of scientific literature exists on the effects of cotton fiber properties on the various processes and products involved in traditional textile manufacturing, including yarn spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing, finishing, etc., there is no such literature or information available on the effects of cotton fiber metrics on the nonwovens processes and products. Since greige/raw cotton typically sells at approximately half the price of bleached cotton that presently is most often used in nonwovens, it was logically important to investigate the use of greige cotton in nonwovens, which potentially could make the cotton fiber more competitive with the competing manufactured fibers (that presently comprise ~97 % (by weight) of all the fibers used in nonwovens). Based on the study conducted, it appears that the fiber properties (their values within relatively normal/typical ranges) of American Upland cottons do not appreciably affect either the nonwovens processes or the fabrics produced. Since the cotton fiber properties studied are known to be so critical in traditional cotton textile processing and products (yarn spinning and woven fabrics), it may be concluded that the relatively low-quality and/or the so-called discounted cottons that generally are not suitable for efficient use in traditional woven fabrics may be efficiently used in nonwoven fabrics for certain valuable end-use applications.
Technical Abstract: This study determined the effects of fiber length, the length uniformity index, micronaire (fineness), and strength of greige cotton lint on properties of nonwoven fabrics. Seven bales of pre-cleaned greige (non-bleached) cotton were procured from a U.S cotton producer and ginner. Each bale primarily had only one particular fiber quality parameter (e.g., length, length uniformity, micronaire, or strength) as a significant variable of interest, while other metrics remained subdued to the extent practically possible. The fiber stock from each separate bale was processed into a lightly needle-punched substrate/fabric and then uniformly converted into a hydroentangled nonwoven fabric structure of the same nominal weight. All the fibers and fabrics involved in the study were analyzed for their quality attributes. Although the study did not reveal any clear-cut, significant effects (obvious relations or correlations) of the fiber quality variables/metrics investigated, , for the first time ever it has given some new information that may be useful in selection of optimally economical cotton for production of cotton-based nonwoven fabrics for certain applications. At the minimum, the study has demonstrated that the greige cotton lint(s) of (typically) varied fiber metrics could be satisfactorily processed, unlike the traditional yarn-based textile processing, into viable nonwoven fabrics of acceptable physical and mechanical properties, as determined by standard test methods and procedures.